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BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 11 May 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1882

Insurance companies use medical information to assess applicants’ risk of death. A large Dutch study comparing the observed mortality of men who applied for life insurance with their previously predicted mortality risk shows that men who had applied for insurance had better survival than the general population. But, interestingly, the men who died could not have been identified with the mortality prediction method that had originally been applied, even though data from basic medical evaluations can accurately predict mortality rates for large groups. The authors say their data support equal opportunities for people seeking life insurance (PLoS ONE 2009;4:e5457, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0005457).

Can cutting out sweet drinks really make a difference to weight? After potential confounding factors were removed from the equation, researchers determined that a reduction in liquid calorie intake of 100 kcal per day was associated with a weight loss of 0.25 kg at six months and 0.24 kg at 18 months. Cutting out drinks was more effective in changing weight than a cut in solid calorie intake. A reduction in sugar sweetened drinks of one serving per day was associated with a weight loss of 0.49 kg at six months and of 0.65 kg at …

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